Posts Tagged ‘ 0 Points ’

What’s New: NOS Sugar Free

So, I like energy drinks, let the wailing and gnashing of teeth commence…Okay, got that out of your systems? Good. Actually, I like sugar free energy drinks the best, and frankly I think that they’re not too bad for you.

Think about it like this. Most of them don’t have the artificial sweeteners in them like diet soda. Also, with the sugar free cans, you’re talking about 20 calories per can. That’s a big old zero on the Weight Watcher’s point scale there. The only drawback is the long term effects of the energy spike from the caffeine in the drink. Since I don’t drink coffee, lets call it square.

I digress. Usually, I’ll reach for Low-Carb Monster, or Sugar Free No Fear, but what caught my eye this past Sunday was the NOS Sugar Free. I have vivid memories of the regular NOS, and it’s cat litter like stench from some friends of mine who love the stuff, so I was slightly hesitant. Still, it was cheaper than all the others, and I could always, you know, not drink it.

Okay, onto the actual beverage. Visibly, and taste-wise, this is an orange drink. It’s actually really similar to an orange soda, but without that distinctive aftertaste that you get from diet ones.  It is carbonated, so there were some foul smelling burps going on while drinking, and a little bit afterward. Walking away from the energy drink, there’s not much  to say. It’s like orange soda with a punch. Actually, it just occurred to me what it’s like: Sparks energy beer, only without the lovely alcohol content.

You know, the more I mull it over, the more I think this might be my new favorite energy drink. It’s orange, which I love,  (Insert Keenan and Kell joke here) and the crash that follows any energy drink was almost non-existent. That could be because there wasn’t too much of an energy spike to begin with. Perfect. If I’m going for a carbonated energy drink, this is my new standby.

What’s for Dinner: Grilled Zucchini and Pasta Medley

So this week has been a little different in the dinner department. I’m not sure why, but my dojo is closed all this week, so no class. What does this mean? It means I get to cook five meals this week instead of three.

So, what does one do when faced with options? See what’s on sale! And this week, fresh zucchini and summer squash were on sale. There isn’t much that’s better in the way of fresh summer ingredients than that. So, to mix it up, I decided to try grilling my veggie’s, an serving them with dill pasta and chicken medley.

To make the recipe a bit more interested, I found Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Balsamic Vinaigrette, a great 0 calorie cooking aid. It packs a ton of flavor to the point where I like to cook with it a bit more than slapping it on a salad.

Skimming over the pasta, as it was the standard (cook chicken and pasta, add pasta to chicken, add dill, cook in pan),  we’ll get into how I prepared the zucchini and summer squash. I began by slicing them at an angle, creating what is more of an oblong disk than the standard spear, or cucumber style cut. This was to expose more flesh, and angle the seeded centers so that they wouldn’t soften too much, and fall apart while cooking. Next, I threw my veggie’s into a bowl, and added some salt, pepper, garlic, and my balsamic, hand tossing it all together lightly.

While I was preparing this, I had started to preheat my pan. I wanted it up to a good high heat so that I could produce some nice dark grill marks, and at the same time keep some firmness to the veg while it cooked. Once my pan was hot, and the veggie’s had marinated a little, on they went. I had thrown down a little cooking spray to keep them from sticking too bad. After a couple minutes, I flipped them over, and there were those gorgeous grill marks that make a food stand out. Same on the other side, and I was off eating dinner.

This was incredibly easy, and tasted amazing. If you’re looking for a fresh food, and a fun and easy way to cook it, try grilled zucchini and summer squash. Oh, and yes, for once I actually provided my own picture. I’ll try to be better about that when I talk about my cooking. Helps when you can see what I’m talking about. Oh, and before I forget! Zucchini and summer squash: zero points baby!!!

What’s New: Diet Trop-A-Rocka Tea

Ok, so this week’s What’s New post starts with a shout-out to the awesome food blog Slashfood. So besides being a nice place to go read about food news, and interesting recipes, Slashfood also occasionally holds nifty competitions and giveaways. One such giveaway was to comment about your favorite flavor of Snapple, and be entered into a contest to win a 6 pack each of Snapple’s two new tea flavors: Diet Trop-A-Rocka Tea, and Compassionberry Tea.

Well, guess what? Yours truly managed to be the lucky winner of some Snapple Tea! Thanks Slashfood! So for now lets look at the diet tea as I’m still trained to reach for a diet drink first.

Now, Snapple doesn’t have a description of the taste of this tea on their site, but do claim that it is “rocker approved”. Well, good for them, but I’m more interested in the taste. That said, opening up the tea, the first thing that you can smell is mango. Now, I’m a fan of mango, but know that it can be a tad sweet. Tasting the drink, my theory is confirmed. The first sip is a blast of mango flavor, and man is it sweet. Still, it’s very good, with the tea taste riding backseat to the citrus punch that this tea throws. My roommate, who is very “refined” about the sweetness and adventuresome of his beverages gave it a try, and had to take a step back.

We both agreed that this was a tasty drink, but with the K.O. mango punch, it needs to be consumed slowly. usually I’ll blast through a bottle of Snapple as a single beverage, but this one had me close it up, and save the other half for later, completely satisfied.

Now to the nitty gritty of this tea. First things first: this beverage is “free” for weight watchers, but does still have calories. Like Crystal Light, there’s that 5 calories per serving in there, so 10 for a bottle. I know, peanuts in a 2000 calorie world, but when you try to eat too many “free” foods on weight watchers, they can add up over a day. Also to be noted is the sweetener used. Without diving into the battle that is the artificial sweetener showdown, I’ll just say that this uses my least favorite: the dreaded aspartame. Still, as a treat, you could do worse.

Overall, I would definitely try this flavor of Snapple again. It was tasty, and able to satisfy a sweet tooth for a while, as well as any random mango cravings. It really was potent in that department. So once again, thanks go to Slashfood for introducing me to this tasty diet drink.

Healthy Cooking: Zucchini and Summer Squash Pasta Medley

Ok, so vegitables aren’t for everyone. Exhibit A is my roommate. He has nothing against them in particular, but won’t go seeking them  out any time soon either. Me, I’m a different story. I LOVE fresh produce in my cooking, but due to expense, time, yadda yadda yadda, I usually limit it to some salad, green peppers, and onion.

Well due to an uncertain dinner schedule this past weekend, I came into my Monday night meal cooking with a little extra weekly produce: green and yellow zucchini, and of course an onion.

Now I know the whole zucchini and summer squash like group of veg isn’t for everyone. To some it’s taste, others texture, and still some simply un-adventurous people. Well dieters, and specifically Weight Watcher’s in particular should take note of these because they’re free (that’s 0 points folks) and can be cooked in any number of ways.

Well, at first I was thinking about grilling these things. It looks great, and tastes better, but laziness, and a lack of balsamic dressing scratched that plan. Instead I decided to create a pasta medley with my ingredients. Here’s how it went:

  • 1 green zucchini sliced (like cucumber), and then quartered to get reasonable chunks
  • 1 yellow zucchini chopped up the same way
  • 1 onion (your pick) sliced into half rings
  • 1 perfect portions chicken breast cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta
  • calorie free butter spray (my cooking crutch)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoning (Italian blend, garlic, pepper, salt, and dill…and more dill)

So clearly my ingredient list wasn’t that awe inspiring, but still it was what I had. So after all the chopping, and prep work, I got my vegis cooking in one pan, chicken in another, and pasta boiling on a back burner. All of these things are pretty easy to cook, and fairly forgiving with their finishing times.

Once the chicken was cooked, I just dumped it in with the zucchini and onions to start those flavors working together. Then the pasta was done so I drained it, and chucked it in with everything else. A couple minutes, and some work with a spatula, and wallah: something edible looking.

Really, not that hard to do, and delicious would be an apt description. Oh did I mention that it made a TON!? It could probably feed two people, but it’s so low in points (2 for chicken, 4 for pasta, and just say 2 for the vegis due to volume), and I needed to get a bit closer to my total for the day, so I ate the lot. I walked away happy, and that’s all there is to it.

Calorie Free Dressing!?

Walden Farms Salad Dressings

Walden Farms Salad Dressings

Could it be true? Should dieters around the world rejoice? Has the perfect solution to those urges for sauces and drenched salads been discovered? The long and short of it is: No. Walden Farms is a company that offers what many dieters seek: a calorie free option to satisfy those urges for creamy salad dressings an other sauces. The sad part is that, although calorie free, in my humble opinion, they don’t taste that good.

We should all realize it by now. The fat and sugars are a large part of what makes food taste so good. If those calories aren’t there, then neither is the flavor. Still, do not give up!

The first time I dieted, I tried these and was disappointed. After years passed by, and I came back to dieting, I figured that I would give them another shot. Guess what. They still are pretty bad. That determined, my bottle of Honey Dijon was exiled to the back of the fridge most likely to remain there until I moved out of my apartment. That was until I was stuck with a creative and daring idea: don’t use it as dressing.

With high hopes, I tried a new creation last night. Using the dressing, I combined it with some spices (generic Italian, and garlic) chicken, and put the lot over pasta. It was surprisingly tasty. I had a creamy sauce with good flavor. apparently with a little seasoning, and some heat, the dressing can be given new life. Inspired I plan to see if I can rewrite my opinions of calorie free dressings with sauce laden dishes.

As an additional note, I saw that Walden Farms also offers other calorie free things like peanut spread (we all know it’s not butter), BBQ sauce, and even chocolate sauce. I’ll have to see how these are, and if any of them are worth it. If they aren’t then I’ll just have to try to recreate them in another form.

The Soda Addiction

I would like to think that I have been fairly successful in my attempt at dieting. I’ve reached my goal weight, and am not having much difficulty maintaining it. Now that I’m here I’m trying to be healthy while being healthy. As cryptic as that sounds, it is the truth.

Exhibit A is my love of soda. I don’t drink it for the caffeine, I don’t drink it for any one reason that I can put my finger on, but like any addiction, it is not so easy to give up. I went from regular soda to diet for my weight loss purposes with no trouble. More recently, I even went to caffeine free soda to reduce my dependency on the wake-me-up juice. My next logical step was to give up soda entirely due to the dreaded Aspartame found in most diet soda’s. I’m not an expert so I won’t preach about how bad that ingredient is for you, but a Google search lays it out pretty clearly: it’s no good, and reduces metabolism.

With that in mind, I did not buy any soda at the grocery store on Sunday…Monday morning I was looking into diet soda’s without aspartame. To my surprise, I found some good alternatives for someone with my unique set of requirements.

So, my criteria:

  • No Calories (or negligable amount)
  • No Caffeine
  • No Aspartame (this makes it hard)

The Solution was to find sodas sweetened with Splenda instead. I came up with a few options. For those of you who need our name brand soda, Pepsi makes Pepsi One, a one calorie soda sweetened with Splenda. Coke also has a Splenda sweetened soda that is simply a version of Diet Coke. For those not tied to a name brand, and who might like to save some cash, there are two other brands which have a big selection, and options that satisfy my no caffiene goal. They are Diet Rite, and Waist Watcher’s. I’m currently drinking the Waist Watcher’s variety. Their Citrus Frost isn’t bad, kind of like a weak Sprite Zero, but their Orange Soda is easily as good as Diet Sunkist.

Most people would probably say at this point “Why even bother?”. To them, I say more power to you if you can give up soda at the drop of a hat. I admit that I’m addicted to it, and am working to get past my addiction. This is just another step, and I’m happy with myself for at least trying. That’s part of dieting, and being healthy; learning to take small steps towards a goal, and having the will to do your best. It’s all you can do.

Dieting with a Dunk’s Addiction

I am fortunately no longer dependent on caffeine. To my knowledge, I haven’t had a drop all this week. That may seem like something small, and some people may say “pfft, No Problem”, but millions of people are dependent on things like their morning coffee, of lunch soda to get them through the day. Well, the drawback of this addiction is that it usually entails extra calories, and fat throughout the day. Add to that, most people are in a hurry, and rely on places like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks for their fix. Luckily, Dunk’s has hopped on the healthy bandwagon with some good alternatives.

With their DDSmart menu, Dunkin’ Donuts has taken some of their customers favorites, and given them a healthy twist. This does not mean that every thing on the Smart menu is Weight Watchers safe, but there are some great contenders. Following is a Smart menu to point breakdown:

DD Smart Menu
Drinks:
Small Coffee Coolatta with Skim Milk: 3 Points
Freshly Brewed Unsweetened Iced/Regular Tea: 0 Points
Small Iced/Regular Coffee with Skim Milk: 0 Points
Small Iced/Regular Latte Lite: 2 Points
Food:
Egg White Veggie Flatbread: 6 Points
Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread: 6 Points
Egg & Cheese on English Muffin: 7 Points
Ham, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin: 8 Points
English Muffin: 3 Points
Multigrain Bagel (No Cream Cheese): 8 Points
Reduced Fat Blueberry Muffin: 9 Points

Well, there you have it. The drink menu is fairly safe for the Weight Watcher crowd, but saying the food menu is smart doesn’t mean that it’s not high in points. This is something to look out for in health ad campagns from corporate chains. Some of the items offered may very well be healthy, but something that is healthier doesn’t make it good for you. Exhibit A would be the Blueberry Muffin. Yes, there’s less fat in it than the original, but its still sporting 10g. My personal vice is a Coolatta on the weekends, and the skim milk makes it taste better in my mind. Its always good to check your addictions and see what they’re actually costing you.